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Healthy Living: Learning to beat Urticaria
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Hives, or the medical term 'Urticaria' is a common allergic reaction on the skin which affects nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population.
It's a physical allergy and can be caused by cold air or cold water which causes itchy, red welts or raised hives. In most cases the hives go away within a few hours, but for some sufferers, it can be weeks.
"There are different types of cold induced urticaria,” Dr. Teresa Copeland said. “For some patients, it is so severe if they hold a cold coke can their hand becomes swollen and itchy. Others can't jump in to lake or pond and not break out and have an asthma attack with that."
Shopping in an air conditioned market can bring on urticaria. Most often it's just annoying but for some people, it can be dangerous. The reactions can an anaphylactic, similar to a bee sting or peanut allergy.
"The danger for someone who has more severe reaction, say they jumped into a cold pond and they had the swelling and their blood pressure might drop and in addition to the hives and itching, that is dangerous and for those people should never swim or exercise without a buddy and have an injectable adrenaline," Dr. Copeland said.
There is no predisposing factor for urticaria but it can be linked to an underlying auto-immune disorder including lupus, thyroid disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
Aside from avoiding exposure to cold, medications can be helpful.
"Antihistamines or H2 blockers like Tagament or Zantac,” the doctor said. “We try not to use predispose unless we have to side effects and they are not good to use for month and months."
Check out the video above to learn more.